At the very moment my yoga mentor posed the question, What is Yoga?, I noticed the smallest of creatures, an ant, I think, crawling around on the hardwood floor. He crawled to the right and then to the left of my mat. As I watched him, all I could think about was how tiny his body parts are....a mouth I'd need a microscope to see, a miniature eye, teeny weeny legs, an itty-bitty ant heart pumping fluid throughout his little bug body!
What is Yoga? was the question presented last night during my monthly yoga teaching training seminar. I answered that it is believing in something bigger than myself. I added, “It’s understanding the big picture without getting hung up in the minutia.” Others answered that it is the breath, prana, energy.... When I began my yoga training some 5 years ago I would have answered, “Yoga is about getting into downward dog, making sure my heels are flat on the ground and learning how to breathe using the 3-part breath.” I knew nothing about yoga then and I know a little about yoga now. Without a doubt, the physical moves and learning about my breath are essential components of yoga. But to me, now, yoga is really about how I am in my life. Am I kind, centered, self-aware, mindful, organized, disciplined, generous or am I not? Do I take care of my body and my home and those around me or not?
Today I was reading the Bhagavad-Gita again (one of the texts we study in training). The warm and wonderful sun was shining through my bedroom window. As I lay on my bed engrossed in the story of Arjuna's enlightenment, I thought again about that tiny little ant crawling around the yoga room on this and then that side of my purple yoga mat. If there is a God I like that idea that he or she is everywhere (as the Bhagavad-Gita tells it) and in that I think I would change my answer to What is Yoga? Today I might answer, "Yoga is like this little ant. I am like this little